Monday, April 16, 2007

Sat Nam!

Today's blog will feature the "before" and the "after" of each concert. It is actually alot of work. For every concert we arrive 3-5 hours before hand. After a concert it is about a two hour process. We have a wonderful team. Here are some fun photos....

Here is Ram Dass setting up the keyboard before the concert. He does such a nice job playing the keyboard... but his real passion and gift is the clarinet. In last night's concert the keyboard had a blip of some sort (that is one of my more technical terms) and it just blopped out (another technical term). Each time he would strike a note on the keyboard it played out into the speakers with about a half second delay. He managed to play a few pieces with this delay going... now that is talent. But after awhile it was clear that it wasn't worth it... so we played the rest of the concert without the keyboard. The good news is that we heard some more clarinet and he did a beautiful job.

Here is Manish tuning his tabla before the concert. Manish really makes sure that his tabla is always in tune. I am really beginning to appreciate it. When the tabla is in tune it sings with you... it is so beautiful. I hadn't really payed that much attention to tuning before... I admit it. But Manish told us a fun story. The first time that Ravi Shankar came to the west and did a concert he started off the concert with tuning his sitar. As is quite normal in an Indian classical music concert Ravi Shankar came out on stage and sat down to tune his sitar. It took him 45 minutes. When he finished the audience gave him a standing ovation! He said very humbly to the audience, "If you like my tuning, you will probably like the actual music that I will be playing tonight."

Here is GuruGanesha with his guitar tuner before the concert. He really loves to tune his guitar, and so he is very happy that Manish has helped me to see how important tuning is. I have to admit since all of this tuning fun has come upon the tour I actually really enjoy it and have become more sensitive when something is out of tune.

Here is after our very beautiful concert last night. GuruGanesha and Mahan Rishi team up to move the piano back on stage.

Here is GuruGanesha and a young man named Ravinder taking the poles out of our banner which sits behind us on stage.

Here is Ram Dass and Manish taking a moment for a samurai fight with the poles.

Ok... here is where you can insert your own imaginary samurai sound affects. Having fun.

Here is Krishan wrapping the cables. He has a special technique for wrapping the cables that actually preserves their life for alot longer then if you were to use say "my technique". He tried to show me once... but I haven't been able to retain that particular technique. Krishan is seen here wrapping cables... but he is actually in charge of both set up and break down. I wish that I had one hundred photos to show you how hard he works. I feel very blessed to have him on tour, along with the the whole crew. They work hard, but they are incredibly positive.

Here is GuruGanesha, Manish, Ravinder and Ram Dass folding the banner. There is also a special technique here as well. You have to fold it just right so that it can continue to look good concert after concert. We are actually due for a new one soon. I noticed a little tear the other night.

Here is Nirbhe Kaur and Sanela who cooked us a great meal for after the concert, and were there helping to clean up and haul things out to the van.

Here I am after the concert in Philadalphia the other day. This is my harmonium case. Fortunately it has wheels.

Here is Manish carrying microphone stands.

Finally this is the real bliss. This morning GuruGanesha and Ravinder recited banis together in the living room of the blissful ashram that Mahan Rishi Singh and Nirbhe Kaur have. Ravinder lives in New York but because of the huge rainstorm last night we encouraged Ravinder to stay the night at the ashram.
Today is our day off. It has been raining for the past two days here in New Jersey. The rain has just stopped. There has been alot of flooding and many roads have been closed. But now that the rain has stopped things are looking up for our journey to Ithaca New York where we are going to play at Cornell University.
May we remember God's Name.
May we feel God's hand in everything.
May we take plenty of deep breaths.
May we live in the bliss of Guru's Bani.
Sat Nam.

Sat Nam!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sat Nam everyone!

Greetings from New York!

Here I am with Sat Kirn Kaur. She lives here in Brooklyn New York with her husband Siri Vishnu Singh. She has made a beautiful cd that I listen to every morning. It is called Mangala Charan. It is the introduction to one of the most beautiful and epic poems called Jaap Sahib by the tenth Guru of the Sikhs... Guru Gobind Singh. Within the up tempo and fun music of Sat Kirn's cd (produced by Thomas Barquee) Yogi Bhajan's voice is interwoven masterfully... as he talks about the Mangala Charan and what it can do for you. When I'm on the road I do a yoga set for the immune system which is very difficult to motivate myself to do... but this cd that she made just does it for me. If you would like to find out more about Sat Kirn see:, or check out

I wish that I had some pictures from this morning. We had a beautiful morning sadhana at the Guru Ram Das Ashram in Brooklyn New York. As the sun rose in the living room packed with people we sang to Guru Ram Das. Nothing gets better then this for me.

This past weekend we had a children's singing hour and two concerts at Golden Bridge New York. That was fun... its amazing.... but this new center which is related to the Golden Bridge in Los Angeles has very similar energy to its sister center. I really enjoyed being there. We also went to two Gurdwaras in Richmond Hill this Sunday. That was a fun kind of situation.... lots of people and lots of Raagi Jathas waiting to play. Manish has only been to one other Gurdwara with us... in Sweden. It is really interesting bringing someone into a Gurdwara who has never been before.... because they see it from a very innocent place. I have really enjoyed having Manish with us because when I speak to people about the Sikh faith and way of life I am aware of Manish sitting next to me on the stage. This has helped me to be very aware of what I am saying, and really say it in the spirit of Guru Nanak, with universal acceptance and truth. Some of you may want to know the story with Manish and how we started playing with him....

Well here it is....

Last year just before we went to Europe, Krishan Prakash informed us that he couldn't come to play tabla with us because his mother's health wasn't so good. We really had alot of compassion for him.... since that time his mother has actually left her body... so I'm glad that he got that time with her. Needless to say we had to find a tabla player for that tour... and so we contacted our friends Deva Premal and Miten who play very beautiful devotional music for audiences around the world. They told us about Manish and he happened to be available for our concert in Sweden. Manish literally walked in just in time for a small sound check before the concert and then we played together. GuruGanesha and I were amazed. Playing with him felt like being on a river... the music just flowed, and the rhythm ebbed and curved with our music very gently and beautifully. We enjoyed it so much that we asked him if he could stay with us for the rest of our European tour. He was able to come to Spain where we had 900 people waiting to hear us. I am so grateful to Manish that he was there with us because his playing and presence really helped us to deliver a beautiful energy that night that was in complete honor to the mission of Guru Nanak. We received a ten minute standing ovation.

After that we returned home to our regular touring team. We really love Krishan Prakash, and we loved playing with him. But, one afternoon he surprised us and told us that he would much rather do the sound for us then play tabla. GuruGanesha and I couldn't believe that someone would want to do sound and not be doing music. But, this is what Krishan Prakash went to school for... to be a producer and sound engineer. He is an artist at it really. So, we made a big leap and wrote an email to Manish who was living in an ashram with his teacher. He had given his teacher three of our cds, and his teacher absolutely loved them and used them in his retreats. When Manish received our request, he asked his teacher for his blessing, and it was given to him full heartedly. That was back last fall. It took alot of effort to get him over here.... including a work visa, plane ticket... etc. We are very grateful to have him... and the sound is absolutely fantastic with Krishan Prakash on the board.

In the light and Grace of Guru Ram Das
We travel from city to city
Walking in the footsteps
Of our great teacher the Siri Singh Sahib.
Sometimes our feet slip out of his big shoes,
But always God is there to catch us,
Keeping us on the mission
Of spreading peace
Through the Guru's hymns.

May love and light and peace be yours today, and may God's Name be on your lips.

Sat Nam.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Sat Nam and Greetings everyone.

Here are some photos of our tour.... I hope you enjoy them.

We were recently in the Bahamas for an Interfaith music festival at the Sivananda Yoga ashram in Nassau. It was a great experience.

Here is from left to right: Manish Vyas, a local Bahamian man whom GuruGanesha befriended, GuruGanesha, and Sopurkh.

My husband and I enjoying a good laugh (probably one of GuruGanesha's jokes) ... with a picture of Swami Vishnu Devananda in the background. Swami Vishnu Devananda was the founder of the ashram that hosted the interfaith festival. He was known as the "flying swami" as he flew many peace missions with his own small airplane. One such mission was a flight over the Berlin Wall before it came down. He did this to demonstrate that there are no walls between any countries... that we are unified by the One Spirit within all. Apparantly when he landed he taught a yoga class to the East German soldiers who met him, was given lunch and treated very respectfully. The mission was widely covered by world wide media and brought attention to the situation at hand, and the importance of working for peace. Many of his missions were at risk to his own life. I enjoyed hearing the stories about his life from his disciples who are now running the ashram, and felt a deep sense of gratitude for his dedication to bringing yoga to the west and to war torn nations. He passed away in 1997, but has left a legacy with the many teaching centers around the globe.

This is a local choir in Nassau Bahamas, called the "End of Time" Choir. They were so beautiful and their songs were really soul stirring. They performed in the interfaith music festival the evening before us. I really overjoyed hearing such a good Gospel Choir. The thing that really touched me was that the pastor of the church was related to about 70% of the choir members... his children and grandchildren all took to singing and spreading the light through their singing. One thing the pastor said which I really took to heart was... "If you can't spread love, light and peace in your own family, how can you expect to spread it anywhere else?"

Here is Manish Vyas, who has recently joined us. Here we are at a concert in Washington DC, which was sponsored by Spirit Voyage Music. Manish is an incredibly talented tabla player and vocalist. We are really enjoying his presence with the tour. For more information about him, you can visit his website at:

He came all the way from India to tour with us... the food and the weather is so different then what he is used to. Although he toured in the US for a number of years, the past couple of years he has been living with his teacher in Mysore and practising meditation in an ashram. My favorite quote from him thus far is as follows. We had to leave quite early one morning and didn't have time to find a place to eat breakfast. We were all in the van quite hungry. I found some tofu at the bottom of our food bag and gave some to everyone. When I gave the slightly pale and rubbery looking tofu to Manish he closed his eyes momentarily before taking the tofu for breakfast and said, "Let Thy Will Be Done."

Here is Ram Dass, who has also joined us. He is playing piano here which he does very well... but just waint until you hear him on clarinet! He is so fluid and really carries the spirit of joy into his playing.

Here's all of us!

Until we come to your city,

Sat Nam!!!!

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